Women who work out carry to term according to the University of Utah Health. It helps with labor, gives the mom better mental clarity, and promotes better prevention and management of urinary excretion (a big word for not having you pee yourself when you cough, sneeze, etc.) Exercise is great, so get out there ladies, or just put your headphones on and listen to this blog in a pregnancy podcast form called Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast.
Can you work out while pregnant?
YES! Health is the most important thing for us as humans and in order to maintain your body’s health you not only have to focus on your diet but exercise on a regular basis. The process of keeping yourself healthy cannot stop during pregnancy. Exercise plays a wonderful role in your baby growth and your fitness during pregnancy and improves your physical and mental well being.
It is very safe to continue exercises whatever you have done before in your life, however, don’t pick up something brand new for example if you are not a runner and you are pregnant you may not start running everyday or join a running club, or you are not a climber so you are not going to start it however you might swim because you have swum in your life and it's pretty safe for you to be in the pool or you might walk, run as you already run everyday, or might even hike. If you did cross fit, lifted weights at the gym, or any other extreme exercises note you can continue to do them BUT don't try anything new.
Exercising While Pregnant
The main point of view is that you are only continuing what you were previously doing. Recommendations are that these women should do exercises for almost thirty minutes a day. They can have a brisk walk or mild to moderate-intensity aerobic exercises. Ladies who are used to vigorous exercise can continue with that even during pregnancy until and unless you have any associated medical condition or complication related to pregnancy that doesn't allow you to do so.
Pregnant people who do high-impact exercises or play contact sports may be putting too much pressure on the uterus. This can cause complications such as bleeding and preterm labor. When the core temperature of a person in the first trimester exceeds 102°F for more than 10 minutes, this is considered overheating.
Exercise means you need to work out for the large muscles of your body and intensity means that you need to do exercises till you sweat and your heart rate increases. Moderate-intensity exercises include a brisk walk and gardening. The duration of workout should be 30 minutes every day for at least 5 days a week or it can also be divided into smaller intervals of 10 minutes 3 times a day. However, if you are new to exercise, you need to increase the intensity of activities day by day from the beginning Initially 5 minutes per day and then increase it 5 minutes every week until you reach the level of 30 minutes per day.
First Trimester Workout
In the first trimester, the basic idea is to develop healthy exercise habits slowly. The exact amount of exercise needed depends on your daily routine and activities before you were pregnant.
Following are the recommended exercises during the first trimester:
- Kegel or pelvic floor exercises keep your abdominal and female organs strong. Contract your vagina by yourself for 5 to 10 seconds and then release it. Repeat the same step for 10 to 20 times a day.
- Walking and jogging: Walking is the lowest impact exercise and results in a slight increase in your heart rate. It also improves your physical and mental well being. In the beginning, take a start from 10 minutes a day and then increases it gradually to 30 minutes for at least 5 days a week. Don't try to run if you are not accustomed to it before. However, if you are efficiently doing it before your pregnancy, then you can continue with it at the same pace.
- Swimming and water other water exercises: It is an efficient way to develop your body muscles and your flexibility. It has the least risk of muscular strains and injuries. Beginners should start with almost every 30 minutes sessions per week and once you are used to it you can make your swimming session for 30 minutes per day a few times in a week.
- Yoga: Body stretching during yoga sessions increases your muscle strength. It also increases your mental stability and is very helpful during labor because you have the strength to withstand labor pains due to meditation that is used in Yoga. Separate yoga sessions are there for pregnant females however newbie’s need to have at least one 30 minutes session for a week. But remember, what you are not allowed to do is hot yoga, back ends, raising feet, lying on your abdomen, twists, and exercises needing balance.
- Pilates: Pilates improves your internal strength and balance. It improves your lower back pain and pain related to baby bump due to the new balance shift. You need to get trained through some initial sessions that may last for 5 to 10 minutes and afterward, you can continue with almost 30 to 60 minutes once or twice a week. However, you need to avoid aggressive movements that are used in Pilates.
- Least intensity weight training: It is safe to do moderate weightlifting, what you need to avoid is heavy weightlifting that can be related to injuries and muscular strains. Remember to use LEFT uterine displacement, meaning take a bump under the right hip to avoid lying flat on your back while pregnant.
- Stationary cycling: Indoor cycling is recommended however to get in road cycling is not recommended. New comers should start with 10 to 15 minutes session initially and then they can extend their session for 30 to 60 minutes to increase intensity.
Interested in staying healthy during your pregnancy. Get active! I know it hard being that we are all quarantined due to Coronavirus but let's make good use of wonderful weather outside and virtual prenatal workouts. If you want real up-to-date information about being pregnant and delivering during this COVID-19 pandemic, just listen to Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 33, Coronavirus and Pregnancy.
If you ever need a two for one morning sickness and workout nausea relief wristband, turn to NoMo Nausea. It has peppermint essential oil infused acupressure that is clinically approved to stop 80% of pregnancy nausea or vomiting in just seconds. Definitely throw one on every time you want to workout, it will save a trip to the bathroom, if you know what I'm saying. So what kind of exercises should I be doing while pregnant?
Diastasis Recti Exercises
This trending medical topic of diastasis recti by definition is the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis muscles that meet at the mid line of the stomach. Basically it is your 6-pack tearing apart, and is very common during and after pregnancy. Remember your beautiful baby is stretching your abs to make room for your growing uterus that houses the baby. Post-partum this gap between your right and left abdominal muscles can look like a rounded protruding belly pooch, think of a daily beer gut.
Most of the time, recti diastasis heals on its own in about 6 weeks to 3 months post-partum. Can you fix Diastasis Recti without surgery? YES! Here are a few exercises that will help to keep your muscles intact during pregnancy and build your muscle wall after.
1. Heel Taps: Lying flat on the floor with your back flat against the mat and both legs bent with flexed feet, then you simply tap each heel to the floor one at a time.
2. Pelvic Tilts: Heels on the floor with your back flat against the mat, raise your butt off the floor so your feet and shoulder blades are the only thing touching.
3. Lying Knee Pulls: With your back flat on the floor, extend one leg foot flexed while you grab the other one by the knee. Then switch legs.
4. Bent Toe Taps: Start in the same position as heel taps, then open your legs and try to drag your toes from out to in and then back up to the starting position.
5. Kick Outs: This one is by far the hardest, so work up to full extension. Start in the heel tap position with bent knees, then kick out your legs and fully extend them. Start high and then over time you will get stronger and will be able to go lower and lower.
6. Heel Slides: Keep your feet on the floor and then slide your heel out until your leg is straight and bring it back to the starting position. Then alternate the other side. To really kick this up a notch wear a slippery shirt and physically have your legs move your body and slide. I recommend putting a cardboard piece under your shoulder blades so you slide easy and your legs and abs are doing all the work.
Pregnancy Safe Exercises
Following exercise are safe for you to do during pregnancy:
- Walking: The easiest workout that you can start from day 1 of pregnancy and continue until your delivery date. It is considered as whole-body exercise that is easy to do and perfect for your joints and muscles.
- Running: Do you want to run faster? Then, all you need is to ask your gynecologist first if allowed. It would be a perfect work out.
- Aerobics and dances: Zumba, dance, and aerobics increase your heart rate. If you are new to these exercises you can use their water version.
- Climbing the stairs and elliptical: These are good during pregnancy, but extra care must be observed to avoid strains and injuries.
- Kickboxing: If you are already an active boxer you can continue with that, however, don't try it if you have not done it previously.
- Yoga and Pilates: These are also good exercises during pregnancy as it reduces stress and increases flexibility, stretching, and breathing. There are specially designed sessions for women that teaches them modified yoga positions and shifting balance toward baby bump.
- Stationary bicycling: It is also good for your increasing baby bump which might be a cause of your fall due to balance shifting.
- Swimming: It is also a perfect body workout during pregnancy. Why? Because the plus point is that there is no chance of muscular injury or strain. During an underwater workout, your body weight is less than your body weight on land, so you feel light. It may also relieve your nausea and swollen ankles. The only thing you need to be careful is to walk along the slippery sides of the pool.
However, if you are a runner, jogger, or sports player you can continue these activities, even during pregnancy with no fears. And just because you started getting sciatic during your last trimester doesn’t mean you need to quit, listen to Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 31 for 8 natural ways to stop sciatica back pain during pregnant. Remember, you are not at all allowed to do any of the exercises that can increase the risk of injury like skydiving, hot yoga, surfing, boxing, soccer, basketball, etc.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
And post workout stretching and removing the lactic acid from your muscles is very important. Try 8sheep lotion before bed to really help massage your fatigued muscles. If you are massaging yourself always go from your feet to your head when rubbing your calves because you want to help get the blood flow back to your head. And there's nothing like a good prenatal massage. You may notice after removing the lactic acid, the soreness you feel after you workout, you might have to pee more because that's how it's excreted.